Cities of Australia


Sydney is Australia's oldest and largest city, home of about 5 million people. It is Australia's most important industrial city and the capital of New South Wales . Sydney’s harbour is one of the most beautiful in the world. Harbour Bridge and the Opera House are among the famous tourist attractions.

Sydney was , at first, a prison colony back in 1788. At that time many nations sent criminals to faraway places. The first prisoners were farmers and started raising sheep. In 1848 Great Britain stopped sending prisoners to Australia and a few years later gold was discovered . Sydney started to grow very quickly. By 1890 the population was about 400,000. During the 20th century many European immigrants arrived and turned Sydney into a multi-cultural city.

Downtown Sydney has many skyscrapers and office buildings, but there are also many historic buildings and parks , in which Sydneysiders can spend their free time. Many people like outdoor activities because the city has a mild climate. Sydney offers its people long beaches that attract swimmers, surfers and sunbathers .

Downtown Sydney with its famous Opera House

Sydney is a major industrial city. One third of all products made in Australia come from Sydney. The city has a wool and food market because there are many farms nearby.

In 2000, Sydney was the host of the Olympic Summer Games. A lot of money was spent on rebuilding roads and other buildings. New stadiums were built and many parts of the city were restored and modernized.

Opening ceremony of the 2000 Summer Olympic Games


Melbourne is Australia's second largest city with a population of 4.8 million. Situated around Port Phillip Bay the city is the capital and commercial centre of Victoria. Melbourne is a multicultural city . More than a third of its inhabitants arrived as immigrants from overseas. Melbourne is the home of famous art galleries, museums and festivals. Sport events take place on a regular basis. Among the most popular are the Formula 1 Grand Prix, the Australian Open Tennis Championship and the Melbourne Cup, an annual horse race. In 1956 the city hosted the Olympic Summer Games. Melbourne was founded as a permanent settlement in 1835 and was declared a city in 1847. When gold was discovered in the 1850s Melbourne's rise as the centre of southern Australia started. It soon became Australia's largest city but was eventually overtaken by Sydney. When Australia became independent in 1901 , Melbourne became the temporary capital until Canberra was completed.

The Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne


Canberra , with a population of about 300,000 is Australia's capital . The city is built around many hills. A dam on the Mongolo River forms Lake Burley Griffen in the middle of the city.

Australia’s parliament meets at Canberra. Many government buildings and other offices are situated here too. About half of the city’s people work for the government. Others work in smaller industries, trade and tourism.

When Australia became independent in 1901, the new government started looking for a place to build the capital city. In 1913 construction began and in 1927 Canberra became Australia’s capital.


Parliament House in Canberra

Other Cities

  • Brisbane - capital of Queensland on the eastern coast
  • Perth - largest city in western Australia
  • Adelaide - capital of south Australia